Four years ago, city council approved 24 measures to address gun violence, which included banning the recreational use of firearms on city property and monitoring gun violence incidents.
Since then, council has formally communicated to Ottawa its disapproval of the federal government’s effort to repeal the long-gun registry, which ultimately was scrapped in a vote earlier this year.
And city council has also formally called on the Ontario government to review regulations for handguns used in target shooting. However, this request has not changed the existing regulations for this class or restricted firearms.
City staff has issued a report summarizing the status of those measures, all but one of which have now been fully implemented.
Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong said Wednesday that he wasn’t impressed by the measures that were put into place in 2008.
"It just seems to me that with no measurable impact they’ve been just a waste of time and just done for window dressing," he said.
Minnan-Wong said there needs to be better measurements of how city money is spent.
"Just to say we’re spending money on something, or allocating resources isn’t an end in itself," he said.
However, Coun. Adam Vaughan denied Minnan-Wong’s suggestion that the steps the city had taken were without meaningful purpose.
"If it was window dressing, the cities with nothing but a police response would be succeeding," he said Wednesday.
"And south of the border, where social programs have disappeared and all they do is police and incarcerate, the gang violence is stronger there than anywhere else in the world."
This year, Toronto has seen an increased number of shootings across the city, including several high-profile incidents in crowded public spaces.
In early June, a shooting at the Eaton Centre left one man dead and another fatally wounded. Weeks later, a shooting in the city’s east end left two dead and 23 others wounded.
Coun. Janet Davis said the city should take any steps it can to help prevent gun violence.
"The City of Toronto should be doing everything within its jurisdiction and pushing other levels of government to achieve other things that fall outside its jurisdiction to prevent access to guns," she said.
However, Mayor Rob Ford said the measures the city enacted do not address the main problem: keeping guns out of the hands of gangs involved in the violence.
"It’s hard to get these guns out of the gangs’ hands," Ford said Wednesday.
"It’s not the hunters that are the problem, right? It’s the thugs, it’s the gang members," the mayor said, noting that people using guns for illegal purposes aren’t going to register their weapons.
Earlier this year, Ford helped sideline an effort to ban bullet sales in Toronto.